Golar LNG (GLNG) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $27.00 price target on the shipping company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Golar LNG's fourth-quarter results are likely to get a boost on the back of improved shipping activity. Fourth-quarter TCE (Time Charter Equivalent) is expected in the band of $70,000 – $80,000, almost double the third quarter figure of $41,200. The company is already seeing a significant increase in free cash flow from the onset of Hilli Episeyo operation as well as other positive factors. We are also encouraged by the company's efforts to reward shareholders in the form of dividend payments. The positivity surrounding the stock can be gauged from the Zacks Consensus Estimate being revised 14.3% upward over the past 30 days for fourth-quarter earnings. Despite such positives, the company's high operating expenses are expected to dent bottom-line growth in the fourth quarter. Moreover, the shipping space is highly competitive and it can become a hindrance to growth.”

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Golar LNG from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 13th. Stifel Nicolaus set a $36.00 target price on Golar LNG and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. B. Riley assumed coverage on Golar LNG in a research note on Thursday, October 4th. They set a buy rating and a $34.00 target price for the company. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a buy rating on shares of Golar LNG in a research note on Friday, December 7th. Finally, Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Golar LNG in a research note on Tuesday, November 13th. They set an outperform rating for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $34.55.

Shares of Golar LNG stock traded down $0.78 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $23.05. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 40,808 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,286,161. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a quick ratio of 0.62 and a current ratio of 0.62. Golar LNG has a one year low of $20.49 and a one year high of $35.54. The company has a market cap of $2.47 billion, a P/E ratio of -15.72 and a beta of 0.82.

Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, November 5th. The shipping company reported ($0.11) earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.11). The firm had revenue of $123.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $86.58 million. Golar LNG had a net margin of 27.87% and a negative return on equity of 4.34%. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Golar LNG will post -0.99 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, January 3rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 14th were paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This is a boost from Golar LNG’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 13th. Golar LNG’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently -40.82%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Golar LNG by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,540,739 shares of the shipping company’s stock worth $126,232,000 after acquiring an additional 83,274 shares in the last quarter. Capital World Investors bought a new position in shares of Golar LNG during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $85,780,000. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Golar LNG by 33.0% during the 3rd quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 2,079,580 shares of the shipping company’s stock worth $57,812,000 after acquiring an additional 515,701 shares in the last quarter. Trafelet Brokaw Capital Management L.P. grew its stake in shares of Golar LNG by 7.6% during the 3rd quarter. Trafelet Brokaw Capital Management L.P. now owns 1,256,681 shares of the shipping company’s stock worth $34,936,000 after acquiring an additional 88,400 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Golar LNG by 1.2% during the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,251,313 shares of the shipping company’s stock worth $34,787,000 after acquiring an additional 15,314 shares in the last quarter. 78.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Golar LNG Company Profile

Golar LNG Limited, a midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) company, engages in the transportation, regasification, and liquefaction of LNG. It operates through three segments: Vessel operations, Floating Liquefaction Natural Gas Vessel (FLNG), and Power. The company engages in the acquisition, ownership, operation, and chartering of LNG carriers and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs); and the development of LNG projects.

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